My kid wants $100K sneakers for the Metaverse. Is there a Universe where this makes sense? 

A perplexed parent’s guide to NFT footwear.

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Virtual sneakers with six figure price tags. Is this really a thing?

You bet your bottom Bitcoin it is. Not just a thing, but an exploding (and highly volatile) market. Nike recently sold a pair of NFT sneakers for $134,000. Nike’s move into the Metaverse was in collaboration with RTFKT (pronounced “Artifact” — we got you), a digital-only sneaker brand that’s pioneered the recent revolution. Asics, Gucci, and other big names are all dipping an 8-bit toe into this futuristic and, yes, super confusing new market. 

Still don’t get it. What’s the point of shoes that you can’t actually wear?

Maybe ask that question to thousands of sneakerheads who have been buying sneakers as a collectible commodity for more than a decade. Just like a limited edition pair of Yeezys, NFT shoes get their value based on hype and scarcity. Think of NFT technology as a way to certify uniqueness and ownership in the virtual world. So, you’re not buying an easily-duplicated image of a shoe, you’re buying a specific pair. This matters for bragging rights, and also for resale purposes. 

So this is about investment, not fashion? 

Actually, it’s about both. Kind of. You may think you can’t “wear” NFT sneakers, but companies like RTFKT are betting big on the fact that next gen consumers (ie, your kid) will care as much about their digital personas as their physical ones — and that they’ll suit them up accordingly. Going to a concert in The Metaverse? You’re not going to show up naked. Gamers already pay good money (estimated at about $40 billion a year, as of 2020) to outfit their in-game avatars. Now, future cross-pollination between fashion brands and video games will mean that your Grand Theft Auto avatar can escape the cops in the latest kicks.

So, back to your child, and their footwear demands. No problem. If your kid starts investing $10 a week now, at an expected annual rate of 6%, those shoes should be theirs in under 48 years!